The South African PC market is going strong, with an increasing number of local customers buying high-end components for their machines.
Local retailers tend to stock these items relatively soon after their international launch, especially popular parts like the latest graphics cards and desktop processors.
However, more expensive or obscure components can take a long time to arrive in South Africa following their international debut – and some might not arrive at local retailers at all.
To find out more about international and local launch windows for hardware, MyBroadband spoke to South African tech retailers regarding their respective product cycles.
In line with international retailers
Raru head of retail Ramone Pickover told MyBroadband that product availability is dependent on when local suppliers receive their stock and if they would like to align themselves with international release dates.
“It is also dependent on the demand or hype around a product,” said Pickover.
Raru relies on stock availability at local suppliers and this can cause the availability of items after their international launch to vary, with certain components arriving in a matter of weeks and others in a matter of months.
“As a retailer we rely heavily on the local suppliers to align themselves with international release dates.”
“As a general rule, we estimate it usually takes between two and three months on an unplanned item, but it is sometimes as quick as two weeks.”
Wootware founder Rory Magee told MyBroadband that local availability also depends on the company in question and freight constraints.
“It depends on the mode of freight that’s generally used and the preparedness of the company launching the product,” said Magee.
He said that for popular products like Intel and AMD CPUs, it is generally quite quick for the products to arrive in South Africa.
“In many instances, it’s in line with when international retailers would receive their first stock, assuming that every part of the supply-chain process goes smoothly,” said Magee.
He noted that bulkier items can take longer to arrive locally, as they are usually sent via sea freight and have to be batched together with large orders.
An area where South Africans do not enjoy the same level of availability as countries like the United States is in high-end products.
Hardware such as expensive laptops from all the top brands, cutting-edge gaming monitors, and automated PC cases are difficult to buy in South Africa.
This is largely due to the lack of demand for these products in the local market, making it unsuitable for international companies to ship large volumes to South Africa.
“Niche, extremely high-end, or other low-volume products are generally more difficult, since there may not be sufficient demand for these products to facilitate orders that are economically viable for all parties involved,” said Magee.
Pickover also noted the difficulty of acquiring high-end items locally, stating that some are brought in on special order or only in low volumes.
“Very high-end items, such as professional monitors, Core i9 series notebooks, or high-capacity hard drives are often brought into the country on a special order basis or with very low quantities made available,” said Pickover.
“This is again based on local demand, as these are targeted at a high-LSM consumer.”